During my stay in Mai Marathi and my interaction with a varied type of people, thoughts and ideologies and concepts and some people bereft of this also. The entire range of people i met were from right from moderates with inclusive approach to extreme hardliners with impracticable ideas & solutions.
The journey of Mai Marathi began in 2006. And mind you, when we began our journey, the issue of Marathi was nowhere on the horizon. Today, some people think, we are bye-product of Shiv Sena or still born MNS. But, very proudly i can say, we had that vision to form a platform, even before, these so called protectors of Marathi & Marathi ‘Bana’ became active.
I still remember vividly one question put forward by one member in our formative meetings. He questioned, what was the definition of Marathi. There were differences of opinion on this issue, some took the rigid stand that Only people born to Marathi parents (that too both mother & father) be called Marathi. Some were moderates, I questioned, what about non-marathi people who contribute to marathi cause? aint we depriving them of being called Marathi ? I can show so many people who are non-marathi, but work for marathi. Why cite others? in Mai Marathi we have one member who is a Gujrati, but is an active member of Mai Marathi. Her marathi is as fluent as ‘hardliner’ Marathi Manoos, then should she be told to lay off just because she is not marathi by birth ?? My stand was accepted and today we are a sane moderate organisation with all inclusive approach.
During our course of journey, I happened to travel to Pune once, Pune the so-called land of Marathi Culture. Before I went there happened to chat with one typical ‘Puneri’ man. Bestowing acute loyalty to the city, he cryptically, told me, you take care of Mumbai, our Pune’s culture is safe. Just to witness, rave party at Sinhagad some days after this chat. Not to be spared, this guy was questioned about the ‘safety’ of Pune’s culture. The poor fella was speechless.
Then on one such recent trip, i happened to meet some ‘knowledged persons’, people who showed extreme rigidity when Marathi was concerned. Use Marathi everywhere, say no to english or other alien language was their motto. Practicality was never thought of by these people.
One such hilarious experience, I recount here was on some online chats with Marathi Language ‘Pundits’, that was the hype of rigidity i must say. I found it shamefully awkward about my poor command over Marathi language. Guess what, for internet links they used to call ‘jodnya’ (pure Marathi term for links), Their command of Marathi Language was awfully amazing, but their intent to work for Marathi Manoos was found wanting.
While these people were at the best Marathi Language Lovers, they showed no care for the people who use this language. What I feel is that language will survive only when it becomes all inclusive. English has survived because it accepted all other influxes. Our Old Civilisation has thrived just because we have accepted all the influx of other cultures. We just cannot show apartheid to others, its as simple as this. Morever, will our language survive if our people are not there?? In today’s globalized world, making our people more competitive should be our focus, they should be able to take on others, not on street, but in their respective field. If our people become stronger then why care about language, its our mother tongue and will not die, afterall it has a long and glorious history, its the language of Sant Dnyaneshwar & Sant Tukaram afterall.
Somehow, people mistaken Mai Marathi as being an organisation for Marathi Language. It is not!!! Due to this mistakened identity, we are always questioned about writing mails in marathi rather than in Devanagari, putting up website in English & so on. We brush it off, as idiotic comments by people who have loads of free time to criticize.
What i feel is that rather than creating islands of insecurity we must build bridges of trust. Yes, there are some problems, problems of influx in mega cities like Mumbai, but that certainly does not means that we are endangered. If ‘outsiders’ come to our cities and reap the benefits, and we are left watching, it means we are either lazy or incompetitive.
Mai Marathi works exactly for this purpose, its a moderate organisation working with a cause of creating a network of marathi people, people who can form a symbiotic network, where each one will share his knowledge (sans ego), and benefit our Society and our Nation.
So my language lover friends expand your ambit, try to love (and work), for people who use this fantastic language.